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Discuss Genetic Factors in Aggressive Behaviour

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Transfer-Encoding: chunked ´╗┐Discuss Genetic Factors in Aggressive Behaviour Both twin an adoption studies have shown an important role for a genetic factor in aggression. For example, Cocker et al found that nearly 50% of the variance in aggressive behaviour could be attributed to genetic factors. Due to monozygotic (MZ) twins sharing 100% of the same genes, we would expect a higher concordance rate for their behaviour than Dizygotic (DZ) twin who only share 60%. Research by McGuffin et al support this in their findings of an 87% concordance rate for aggression in MZ twins and a 72% in DZ twins. A concordant analysis by Christianson reinforces these findings. Of over 3.5k Danish twins he found MZ twins were more likely to be registered on by the police for criminal activity than DZ twins, especially males. Christianson?s research provides strong support due to the large sample size used. ...read more.


They found that children who had a biological parent who had a criminal conviction had a higher percentage of a conviction than adopted parents. This proves that it is genes that have the main influence of aggression not as much as the environment. Supporting research was conducted by Holfling which showed similar results. They also found that biological parents who showed aggression were more likely to have a child with similar behaviour than an adopted parent. This provides support that it is biological factors that mainly influence aggression. Another positive of these findings is that it does research within the nature/nurture debate. Adoption studies look at the environment at adopted house but also the biology of the biological parents. Therefore, these findings are very valid and useful and it?s easy to conclude that genes are the factor that impact aggression. However, it should be noted that children who have been adopted are likely to show anti-social behaviour due to separation from family or the stress of foster homes. ...read more.


However, it is hard to determine the nature of the relationship if completed on animals due to the complexity of humans. Therefore, findings from animals cannot be generalised to humans as findings may differ. Overall, research has real-world application. There have been suggestions that if people's genes predispose them towards aggressive behaviour, then doctors can use genetic engineering to change their genes and reduce this risk. Morley suggested that if a genetic predisposition is found early in childhood, then interventions can be used to reduce the risk in the future. Explanations that are purely genetic have been criticised for being too deterministic. They argue that our aggression is pre-programmed, while ignoring the human characteristic of free will. If aggression is purely biologically determined, then why is everyone not aggressive? In conclusion this approach is criticised for being very reductionist. As well as genetic factors, there are many environmental factors that influence the manifestation of aggressive behaviour. Therefore, a more holistic approach should be considered using factors from Social learning theory and how observation can increase the likelihood of aggression. ...read more.

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